This past weekend I volunteered as an official at the 16th annual Blue Lobster Bowl, an ocean sciences quiz bowl competition for Massachusetts high school students. The Blue Lobster Bowl is held every year at MIT and is one of 25 regional competitions in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. This year 16 teams participated in the Blue Lobster Bowl, and the winning team (Congratulations, Lexington!) will compete against the other regional champions at the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals in April.
The competition lasts an entire day and is organized into rounds. During each round two teams are assigned to a room staffed with a crew of volunteer officials (moderator, science judge, rules judge, time keeper, score keeper, and runner). The teams are asked a series of multiple choice buzzer questions and open ended team challenge questions about oceanography (biological, chemical, geological and physical), marine policy, and ocean technology.
My official role was “science judge.” That means I was responsible for operating the buzzer system, deciding whether the teams’ science-based objections were valid, and explaining the answers if there were questions. However, my room was short-staffed, so I also did the time keeping.
The best part of the day was seeing so many high school students excited about marine science. The Blue Lobster Bowl was my first experience with any sort of science quiz bowl, and I was super impressed by how much the students knew about oceanography. Want to see how you would do? Click here to test your knowledge in a National Ocean Sciences Bowl format quiz! You can even compete against a friend!